Political party organizations will never do business quite the same way again.
Since November 6, the national political parties are no longer permitted to raise and spend “soft money,” the large, unrestricted donations from corporations, unions and wealthy individuals. The ban is the most sweeping change in campaign finance law in the past 25 years.
But while the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act changed the rules for big money at the national level, it does little to take the big money or big donors out of state and local politics.
Philanthropists, trial lawyers, corporate executives anyone willing to open their wallets to party organizations in states with loose or no contributions limits can continue to pump tens of millions of dollars into party organizations
As part of a continuing examination of political influence at the state level, the Center for Public Integrity examined contributions to state political party groups, identifying the individuals who donated $100,000 or more during the 1999-2000 election cycle, the most recent election for which complete data from every state is available.
Earlier this year, the Center for Public Integrity conducted an unprecedented study of contributions and expenditures by state party organizations. The examination found that during the 2000 elections, Democratic and Republican state party committees raised $570 million, with nearly half of that comprised of soft money transfers from national party organizations.
Labor unions, corporations and wealthy individual donors provided much of the money that keeps state parties afloat. In 30 states, in fact, there are no limits whatsoever on the amount of money those donors can give to a state party.
Roughly 100 people contributed $100,000 or more to state parties, forming an exclusive Club 100 of sorts. The top donors hail from states around the country, though groups of donors are clustered in states such as Michigan and California.
This relatively small number of individuals, totaling 102 people, gave $21.3 million to two dozen state parties around the country. They gave $12.3 million to Republican Party organizations and $9 million to Democrats.
Their financial activity during the 2000 election cycle sheds light on the most generous political players outside of the Washington, D.C. They spread their money far and wide. Dot-com millionaire Steven T. Kirsch# of California gave more than $2.1 million to party organizations in 10 different states. Party organizations in 19 different states shared the $1.3 million disbursed by S. Daniel Abraham, the Florida billionaire who made his fortune on Slim Fast Foods.
But donors often kept their money close to home, giving exclusively in the state where they live or primarily do business. And there is good reason to do so, some experts say.
The states are where the donors who are looking for more bang for their buck are going to go, said David Lanoue, chairman of the Political Science Department at the University of Alabama.
[State parties] is where they go to get noticed, and to generate whatever gratitude they can generate through their donations.
Only a few of the big donors to the state parties double as high-dollar contributors to the national party committees. For the most part, they are not the celebrated patrons of Presidents who get to spend nights in the Lincoln Bedroom or take jaunts on Air Force One. Instead, Club 100 members are a rather eclectic assemblage of CEOs, lawyers, bankers, dot-comers, philanthropists and ideologues. Some are known for their fortunes or business acumen; others operate far below the media radar. Each possesses a measure of wealth and a desire to make strategic contributions to certain states, or to keep their political contributions close to home.
Seventeen lawyers are on the list of the top donors to state political parties. As a group, lawyers gave $2.4 million to the state parties. Ninety-six percent of the money went to Democratic party organizations. Twelve of the top 100 donors are securities brokers, or work in the financial industry. Eight are in the real estate industry.
Wayne Hogan, one of Florida’s top trial lawyers, gave $1,000 to the North Dakota Democratic Party, $6,000 to Florida Republicans, and $448,000 to the Florida Democratic Party in 2000. Two years later, he ran unsuccessfully for the state’s 7th Congressional District seat.
In Alabama, four lawyers with the Hare Wynn Newell Newton law firm each made contributions to the state Democratic Committee of $113,460. The money from the lawyers was given in two installments, in July and September of 2000. All the contributions were given within a few days of one another.
Hare, Wynn which is the oldest plaintiffs’ firm in Alabama made hefty donations this year to Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, contributing $50,000 to his campaign for re-election.
Siegelman, who practiced law before he ran for governor, came under fire from critics and from the Alabama State Ethics Commission for payments he received while he was in office from his former law firm, Cherry, Givens, Peters and Lockett. Siegelman lost his race to Republican Bob Riley.
Trial lawyers from a Birmingham firm followed a similar pattern with contributions to the Democratic State committee. Three attorneys in the Pittman Hooks firm in Birmingham each gave $104,125 to the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee over the same seven dates in 2000.
While some of the Club 100 members donated solely to their home state party, others spread their contributions around the nation. Among those who work in the financial industry, Charles R. Schwab, chair and CEO of the nation’s largest discount brokerage and a resident of California, gave $285,000, all of it to the state’s Republican Party. Vance Opperman, a Minnesota-based venture capitalist and president of West Publishing, the parent company of Westlaw, the legal publishing giant, gave $439,500 to Democrats in his home state and in Montana, North Dakota and New Hampshire. Peter Buttenweiser, a Philadelphia philanthropist and ardent advocate of gun control, spread $128,250 among Democratic state parties in Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Delaware, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Jersey and Nebraska.
And some big donors made single contributions to party committees of states to which they seemingly had no connection at all.
From Saudi businessmen to Louisiana politics
The biggest individual donor to any political party in Louisiana in the 2000 elections was an Ethiopian-born lawyer whose billion-dollar satellite radio corporation was underwritten by Saudi investors.
Noah A. Samara is founder and CEO of Worldspace, a Washington, D.C.-based company that beams digital radio to remote regions of Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. The Maryland resident secured his spot as the top donor in Louisiana on November 2, 2000, when he delivered a $100,000 check to the Louisiana Democratic PAC, also known as DemoPAC.
Worldspace had been hailed by U.S. and international economic development organizations for using its broadcasts to, among other things, fight AIDS and educate children. The firm’s business partners around the world provide satellites, technology and programming. The United Nations, World Health Organization and others have joined with Worldspace on various projects over the years.
Business interests didn’t prompt Samara to give so much the Louisiana Democrats, he told the Center. Rather, the $100,000 donation gave him the chance to meet face-to-face with then-Vice President Al Gore, who was in the final days of a failed presidential bid.
The Louisiana state Democratic Party had indicated that I could have the opportunity to meet with Mr. Gore and discuss what his policies would be on these issues of concern to me, Samara told the Center in a written response to questions about the donation.
Samara said he wanted to discuss AIDS research and U.S. economic investments in Africa with Gore, and had a brief face-to-face meeting with the presidential nominee at a fundraiser.
According to a Forbes magazine story in April 2002, Samara’s own investors have been the source of some bad publicity. Worldspace’s original backers were Saudi Sheik Khalid bin Mahfouz and his partner Mohammad Hussein Al-Amoudi (who no longer has a stake in the firm). The two chipped in $1.1 billion for an 80 percent stake in the company. Another prominent Saudi businessman, Saleh Idris, bought a 6 percent stake.
Bin Mahfouz was a former director of the infamous Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), which laundered drug money, allegedly aided terrorists and intelligence organizations, and stole billions from depositors around the world. Bin Mahfouz was indicted in the U.S. on charges of defrauding depositors of $300 million, and faced civil claims exceeding $10 billion. Bin Mahfouz arranged a $225-million settlement with prosecutors.
In 1998 the Clinton Administration destroyed a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan belonging to Idris, alleging the plant was used by Osama bin Laden to produce chemical weapons. Idris denied the allegations and sued the U.S. government, which then dropped its freeze on Idris’ assets, and quietly dropped the allegations of a tie between Idris and bin Laden.
Louisiana Democrats declined to comment on Samara’s contribution. Susan East, a spokeswoman for the state Democratic Party said she was not familiar with the name and could not speculate immediately on why Samara gave, or what his interests in Louisiana politics might be.
Close to home
Fifteen of the Club 100 members are Michigan residents. They make up the largest cluster of big donors from a single state. Each directed their contributions to the Michigan State Republican Committee, giving a total of $2.1 million among them.
Jay Van Andel, co-founder of the Amway Corp. and longtime supporter of conservative causes, gave the most to the party: $400,000 in a series of donations.
Then there is Ilija Letica, whose business biography says he escaped Communist rule in the former Yugoslavia and made his way to America. He founded Letica Corp., now a leading manufacturer of five-gallon buckets and other plastic products.
Letica, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., wrote a single check for $100,000 to the Michigan State Republican Committee.
A dozen of the Club 100 donors are Californians. The top donor to state party politics is Steven T. Kirsch of Los Altos Hills, a fount of Democratic campaign money, both at the state and national levels.
Kirsch founded two high tech firms in the 1980s before launching Infoseek, an Internet search service. He sold Infoseek to Disney in 1999, then launched Propel, a California e-commerce company. Kirsch used his personal Web page once to send a message for those seeking to reform campaign finance. “ The current system sucks. It allows wealthy people like me to get special access and influence public policy.”
In the 2000 election, Kirsch spread $2.1 million in six-figure chunks among 10 different state Democratic Party committees, virtually all in key swing states in the 2000 presidential election. Democratic parties in Florida, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas, Nevada and Minnesota each received checks ranging from $100,000 to $200,000.
Hedging their bets
Only five donors gave to both parties, but they clearly favored one or the other. Bruce Dayton, a Minnesota philanthropist and pioneer of the enclosed shopping mall, gave $107,500 to Democrats and $1,500 to Republican state parties. Dayton is the father of Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton, a Democrat.
There are different kinds of givers, said Diana Dwyre, a campaign finance expert at the University of California, Chico. On the state level, you are more inclined to find givers with an ideological passion. They are not giving to Democrats and Republicans. They are giving to one or the other. They are not hedging their bets, as you’ll find the corporate contributors doing in Washington.
And, of course, even at the state level, donors want access, Dwyre said.
Contributors of $100,000 or more to State Party Organizations in the 2000 Election Cycle
- 1. Steven T. Kirsch# – $2.1 million
Kirsch founded Mouse Systems in 1982 and Frame Technology in 1986 before launching Infoseek, an Internet navigation service. After selling the company to Disney in 1999, Kirsch started a new e-commerce company called Propel. He and his wife Michele, a law school student, have set records for charitable giving: they are but a handful of donors younger than 50 who rank among the nation’s 100 most generous philanthropists, as measured by lifetime giving. Kirsch divided his contributions among Democratic party committees in 10 states.
- 2. S. Daniel Abraham – $1.3 million
His sale of Slim Fast Foods to Unilever last year rocketed him onto the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest people in America. He had also recently sold his interest in the pharmaceutical company Thompson Medical for a reported profit of $200 million. Forbes estimates his net worth at $1.8 billion. A long-time Democratic giver, Abraham gave $1.5 million to the party and is ranked as the No. 1 contributor of soft money to the national parties. He gave to Democratic party committees in 19 states.
- 3. Bernard Daines – $1.1 million
The CEO of Worldwide Packets, a hardware developer for Internet connections. In the early 1990s, Daines founded ethernet companies Packet Engines and Grand Junction Networks both later sold for $675 million. Daines’s $550,000 debut contribution found its way to the Republican National Committee. He also donated another $500,000 to local GOP candidates in his home state of Washington, and contributed the rest to Republican party committees in four other states.
- 4. Donald J. Carter – $700,000
A top GOP contributor, from 1998 to 2000 Carter gave $307,250 to the Republican Party, including a $250,000 contribution to the Republican National State Elections Committee. Carter is a top executive at Home Interiors & Gifts, Inc., a Dallas based company that makes decorating accessories. He gave to Republican party committees in nine states.
- 5. Stanley Fulton – $565,000
Founder of Anchor Gaming, a designer and manufacturer of slot and video gaming machines leased to casinos. The company expanded into casino operations in 1991 when it opened the Colorado Grande Casino near Cripple Creek, followed by the Colorado Central Station in Black Hawk two years later. It went public in 1994 and acquired Global Gaming Products that year. In 2000, Fulton retired from Anchor Gaming and sold his family’s 40% stake back to the company. The bulk of Fulton’s state-party contributions went to the Nevada State Republican Central Committee.
- 6. James Leininger – $525,000
The founder of Kinetic Concepts, a specialty hospital bed manufacturer. Leininger has contributed generously to the Republican Party and has contributed to a variety of GOP candidates across the country along with his wife, Cecelia. He was also active in Texas politics and was a large donor to President George W. Bush. Leininger is an ardent supporter of school vouchers.[LINK to previous report] He gave the bulk of his state-party contributions to the Republican Party of Texas, but also contributed to the Republican Party of Arkansas.
- 7. Wayne Hogan – $449,000
Partner in the Jacksonville, Florida law firm of Brown, Terrell, Hogan, Ellis, McClamma & Yegelwel, P.A., and was among the team of trial lawyers who represented the late Gov. Lawton Chiles and the people of Florida against the tobacco industry. He ran for Congress this year but lost in November. All but $6,000 of his state-party contributions went to Democratic party committees.
- 8. Vance K. Opperman – $439,500
President of Key Investment, a venture capital firm investing in information technology and biomedical technology startups. Opperman was former CEO of West publishing, and enjoyed a decades-old friendship with Gore and served as Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) campaign finance co-chairman. He contributed to Democratic party committees in four states, the bulk going to Minnesota committees.
- 9. Jeffrey and Jeanne Levy-Hinte – $435,000
Jeffrey Levy-Hinte is an independent filmmaker. Jeanne Levy-Hinte is a writer at her husband’s New York independent film production house, Post 391. The firm ranks fifth among film production companies for political campaign contributions and 16th in the entertainment industry. They contributed to Democratic party committees in eight different states.
- 10. Jay Van Andel – $400,000
Founded Amway Corp. along with Rich DeVos in 1959. Headquartered in Michigan, Amway reportedly sold more than $5 billion worth of merchandise annually, and a recent U.S. News & World Report article described it as one of the nation’s largest companies with strong Christian leanings. Van Andel contributed to the Michigan Republican State Committee.
- 11. Edward Hamm – $391,300
Hamm is a partner in Aloma Oil, based in Hobe Sound, Fla. He previously held senior management positions at Northland Company, Acoma Oil and Aeonca Oil. He gave to Republican party committees in nine states.
- 12. Robert F. and Nancy Meyerson – $290,000
Robert Meyerson is the chairman and CEO of Telentis Group, and former chairman and CEO of Telxon Corp. in Akron. Meyerson donated $100,000 for Bush’s inauguration and was a member of Team Ohio, the controversial group formed by the governor that gave perks to those contributing $25,000 or more to the state GOP. The Meyersons donated to the Ohio and Florida Republican party committees.
- 13. Charles R. and Helen Schwab – $285,000
Chairman and CEO of The Charles Schwab Corp., the nation’s largest discount brokerage firm. Through Internet investments during the 1990s, he attracted 2.2 million online accounts valued at $174 million. Schwab has been a vocal advocate for increasing the amount of money that can be given tax-free to retirement accounts. He and his wife gave to the California Republican Party.
- 14. Bill McMinn – $265,000
The chairman of Texas Petrochemicals LP and director of Lexicon Genetics Incorporated. He is also a member of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust and Administration. McMinn was a top contributor to President George W. Bush’s gubernatorial campaigns and is affiliated with Texans for Lawsuit Reform, a tort-law group that advocates limits on legal liability. He donated to the Associated Republicans of Texas Campaign Fund.
- 15. Selim Zilkha – $260,000
Former owner of Zilkha Energy Co., a Houston-based company which he sold in 1998 for to Sonat, Inc. for shares worth over $1 billion. Zilkha, who is originally from Iraq, is the owner of Tower Grove Vintners in Arroyo Grande, Calif. He is one of the top 40 wealthiest people in Los Angeles County, and was listed as one of Forbes 400 richest people in America in 2001. He donated to the California Republican Party.
- 16. Thomas and Barbara Stephenson – $250,000
Thomas Stephenson is a California philanthropist who has focused on services and software investments. He is currently the Chairman of Landacorp (LCOR) and a Director of BenefitPoint. He and his wife contributed to the California Republican Party.
- 17. David H. Marsh – $240,150
Founder of the Marsh, Rickard, and Bryan, P.C., law practice in Birmingham, Ala. He is also the first vice president of the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association. Marsh is on the board of the Alabama Civil Justice Foundation. He is a consistent contributor to state Democratic candidates and the Democratic Party in Alabama. His state level donations are to the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee.
- 18. Ronald Vanderpol – $240,00
CEO and chairman of RVP Development of Grand Rapids in Grand Rapids, Mich. He has donated to the Great Lakes Education political action committee, a Republican PAC whose main goal is to elect lawmakers who agree with increasing the number of charter schools that can be overseen by universities. His state-level contributions were to the Michigan Republican State Committee.
- 19. C. Michael Kojaian – $235,000
Kojaian is a Detroit developer who owns Kojaian Properties and Kojaian Management Co. In 1996 his family bought a 14 percent stake in Grubb & Ellis, one of the nation’s biggest commercial real estate companies. While donating generously to state Republicans, Kojaian also gave $250,000 to the Republican National State Elections Committee in 2000. He contributed to Republican state parties in Michigan and Iowa.
- 20. Michelle Coppola – $230,000
The wife of Shane E. Coppola, executive vice president of Metro Networks, Inc., which is owned by Westwood One. Metro Networks delivers traffic, news and other information to several radio and television stations in 70 cities. On the state level, she donated to the California Republican Party.
- 21. Ronald Eibensteiner – $226,000
Director and secretary of Active IQ Technologies, a Minnesota based corporation that offers industry-specific solutions for managing, sharing and collaborating on business information over the Internet. He is also the chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota, to which he gave his state-party contributions.
- 22. Finn and Barbara Caspersen – $219,500
Finn Caspersen is the former CEO of Beneficial Finance. He is currently the CEO of Knickerbocker Management, a venture capital investment firm. Caspersen had considerable clout in state transportation issues, having been chairman of the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund. In 1994 he threatened to move his business out of New Jersey if the DOT did not widen two particular roads. He gave the bulk of his state-party contributions to Republican committees in four states, but also gave $1,000 to a Democratic party committee in New Jersey.
- 23. Peter G. Angelos – $208,000
A Baltimore attorney and owner of the Baltimore Orioles professional baseball team. He is a significant contributor to the Democratic Party who made a fortune off of asbestos and tobacco class-action lawsuits. He contributed to Democratic state party committees in six states.
- 24. John M. O’Quinn – $206,000
A partner at the O’Quinn & Laminack law firm in Houston, O’Guinn is outspoken critic of the Republican Party. Fortune magazine once named O’Quinn one of their Lawyers from Hell because of his dogged work in cases such as a Texas suit against the tobacco industry. He contributed to the Texas Democratic Party.
- 25. Fred Eychaner – $205,000
Owner and chairman of Newsweb Printing Corporation, a multilingual and multinational communications company based in Chicago. Eychaner contributed to Democratic party committees in 11 states.
- 26. Jorge Mas Santos – $205,000
President of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), the preeminent group representing Cuban exiles in Miami, which his father, Jorge Mas Canosa, founded in 1980. In 1992, Mas Canosa was instrumental in getting the Bush administration to tighten America’s economic embargo against Cuba. And four years later, he successfully lobbied for the Helms-Burton Act, which allowed Cuban Americans for the first time to sue foreign companies that did business with Cuba
- 27. Leslie C. Quick – $200,000
The late founder of the highly successful discount brokerage firm Quick and Reilly Inc., and chairman of the Board of Trustees of Widener University, died March 8, 2001, at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass.
- 28. Lawrence Kadish – $195,000
Real estate broker with First Fiscal Fund Corp. in Westbury, N.Y. Kadish sought to improve relations between the Republican Party and American Jews. He is the chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition, and contributed to the New York Republican State Committee.
- 29. Louise L. Gund – $185,000.
Gund, through the Louise L. Gund Foundation, was one of the largest contributors of soft money to the Democratic Party in 2002. The Californian gave to state level Democratic party committees in California, Michigan and Montana.
- 30. J. C. Huizenga – $179,035
Huizenga heads Huizenga Industries, along with a securities firm, West Michigan Equities, and National Heritage Academies (NHA). NHA is seeking to turn a profit on its 20 publicly funded charter schools that promise a back-to-basics moral education. For-profit school companies have flocked to Michigan under Governor John Engler’s stewardship because the state offers high per-pupil reimbursement rates and does not require charter schools to contribute to the state pension plan. On that state-party level, he gave all but $500 of his contributions to Michigan Republican committees.
- 31. John A. Kornreich – $177,000
General partner at Sandler Capital Management in Rochester, N.Y., which invests in media stocks. Kornreich is a member of the facetiously labeled Media Mafia, a small group of investors with much skill and experience in the area of media investment. He contributed to Democratic party committees in New York.
- 32. R. B. Pamplin Sr. – $175,000
Pamplin’s family-owned conglomerate has operations ranging from entertainment to retail stores to manufacturing interests (asphalt, concrete, and textiles.) The company’s Mount Vernon Mills is one of the largest denim producers in the United States. He donated to the Oregon Republican Party.
- 33. Carroll Petrie – $175,000
Widow of Milton J. Petrie, retailer and philanthropist, who died in 1994 at age 92. Over the years, Milton and his wife Carroll supported various GOP candidates. Petrie headed the Petrie Stores, which include Marianne’s and Stuart’s, and contributed monies to educational, religious, medical, and cultural institutions, including the University of Chicago. Carroll Petrie is a New York resident, philanthropist and socialite. On the state-party level, she contributed to the New York Republican State Committee.
- 34. Charles B. Wang – $170,000
Wang is Chairman of Computer Associates International, Inc. (CA). Wang founded the company in 1976 with three associates and has served as Chairman and CEO since its inception. On the state-party level, he contributed to the New York Republican State Committee.
- 35. George Gaukler – $167,000
Former chairman of the North Dakota Democratic Committee, a title Gaukler held for 14 years. He is the president of Valley Realty, Inc. in Valley City, N.D. Gaukler was a secondary guarantor for loans made by Valley City banks and the Bank of North Dakota to the principal investors of a company called Computer Precision Disc. The company folded in the 1980’s amid a controversy over whether it legitimately spent more than $1 million. He contributed to his home state’s Democratic committee.
- 36. Lanny Vines – $165,000
An attorney in Birmingham, Ala., Vines is a longtime supporter of the Democratic Party. He served on the Alabama State University board of trustees despite not holding a degree from the university. He contributed to the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee.
- 37. Ray Witt – $161,000
Former president of CMI International in Southfield, Mich., an automotive engine and suspension business that he founded in 1957. His state-party contributions went to Michigan Republican committees.
- 38. Harvey & Constance Krueger – $152,000
This New York City couple is known as generous supporters of the arts in New York, Florida and elsewhere. They also generously supported Democratic state party committees in New York.
- 39. William Cooper – $150,000
Head of the Minneapolis-based Twin City Federal Bank. He is also the former chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party. Cooper has given thousands of dollars to the Center of the American Experiment, a Minnesota think-tank. He contributed to Minnesota Republican party committees.
- 40. Andrew and Worth Ludwick – $150,000
Ludwick is the founder of SynOptics Communications and the former CEO of Bay Networks. He was a cofounder of Bay Networks, director of Foundry Networks, Inc. He is chairman of the Budget and Expenditures committee of the California Republican Party, to which he and his wife directed their state-party contributions.
- 41. Bernard L. Schwartz – $149,500
CEO of Loral Space and Communications. A large donor to the Democratic Party, Schwartz celebrated his 71st birthday in the White House with the Clintons in 1997. He came under the national spotlight when, in 2000, then-President Bill Clinton was accused of approving Loral satellite launches in China amid suspicion that the company was aiding the Chinese in their ballistic missile program. The Justice Department found insufficient evidence to appoint an independent counsel to investigate Schwartz and Clinton. Schwarz told the Center, in The Buying of the President 2000, “I have never spoken to the President of the United States about my interest in this part of our business…I think it would be an abuse of our friendship.” Of his contributions to the Democratic Party, he said, “You know, I don’t think it’s any of your goddamned business.” Schwartz contributed to Democratic party committees in 10 states.
- 42. Donald Led Duke – $145,600
President of Barry Bette & Led Duke Construction Group in Albany, New York, where the firm recently completed construction of a hospital. The bulk of his state-party contributions went to Republican committees in New York.
- 43. Donald Bren – $135,000
Longtime chair of the Irvine Company in Newport, California. Bren was credited for helping create one of the first planned communities in Irvine Ranch, Calif. On the state-party level, he contributed to the California Republican Party.
- 44. Robert Cummins – $135,000
CEO of Primera Technology in Plymouth, MN., one of the leading manufacturers of specialty color printers. Cummins recently underwrote most of a $20 million project to rebuild and reopen a local school. He is the founder and past president of the Freedom Club, a conservative PAC. On the state-party level, he contributed to Minnesota Republican party committees.
- 45. Stephen L. Bing – $133,000
The millionaire grandson of New York real estate magnate Leo Bing, he stands to inherit an estimated $600 million from his father, Peter, who serves on the board of Stanford University. Bing reportedly keeps a permanent room at the swank Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles. He contributed to Democratic party committees in six states.
- 46. Mike Boylan – $132,500
Vice president and national sales manager of Zelco Inc., which designs, develops, markets, and distributes flashlights, clocks, lamps, mirrors, and other products. He contributed to a Texas Republican party committee.
- 47. James B. Nutter, Jr. $130,000
Founder and owner of the James B. Nutter & Company mortgage banking company in Kansas City. He was named to the board of directors of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) by then-President Bill Clinton in 1993. He contributed to the Missouri Democratic State Committee.
- 48. Peter L. Buttenweiser $128,250
A philanthropist who donated over $600,000 to the Democratic Party recently. He is also the head of Peter Buttenweiser & Associates in Philadelphia. A vocal proponent of gun control, Buttenweiser has donated to the National Prison Hospice Association.
- 49. David G. Frey – $127,000
An advisor to and former chairman of Bank One, West Michigan, Frey is chairman of the Right Place Program, which promotes economic development in the metropolitan Grand Rapids area. He is a Trustee of the Frey Foundation, a private family foundation endowed in 1989 with current assets of approximately $140 million. He contributed to Republican party committees in Michigan.
- 50. Terrence & Mary Adderly – $125,000
Terrence Adderley is president and CEO of Kelly Services, Inc., an international provider of staffing services, with headquarters in Troy, Michigan. Prior to that, he worked for Standard Oil in New Jersey. The contributed to the Michigan Republican State Committee.
- 51. David Feinberg – $125,000
Feinberg is a Manhattan real estate developer appointed to the state’s economic development agency by New York Gov. George Pataki. In 2001, Feinberg donated at least $100,000 to Pataki’s campaign. The New York Daily News reported that Feinberg’s contributions were made under the names of 16 different corporations, all on the same day.
- 52. John Long – $125,000
Long is a venture capitalist out of Austin, Texas, who co-founded the Trellis Partners and was partner in the Dakota Venture Management Co. Long specialized in finding financial backing for startup high-tech firms. He contributed to the Republican Party Of Texas.
- 53. Earle and Carol Mack – $120,000
Earle Mack, of New York City, is a senior partner at the Mack Company, a commercial real estate enterprise. He is active in thoroughbred racing and the arts community in New York, including former positions as chairman of the New York State Council on the Arts, and member of the New York City Ballet and Dance Theater of Harlem boards of directors. Mack and his wife contributed to the New York Republican State Committee.
- 54. David A. and Barbara Koch – $119,500
David Koch, of Minneapolis, Minn., is the former Chief Executive Officer of Graco, Inc. Graco, an industrial and automotive equipment manufacturer. He started The Keystone Club, a group of Minnesota businesses that pledged to contribute 5 percent of pretax profits to nonprofit community causes. In 1985, the Koches and the Graco Foundation, established the Koch Endowed Chair in Business Ethics at the University of St. Thomas. They contributed to Minnesota Republican state party committees.
- 55. M. G. Pat Robertson – $117,000
The televangelist and spiritual and political leader of the religious right, Robertson is the founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) Inc. and numerous other faith-based organizations. His Virginia-based Operations Blessing International has received at least $500,000 in federal funding for faith-based organizations. He resides in Virginia Beach, Va.
- 56. Alice Gustafson – $116,020
Gustafson is chairwoman and CEO of Hubert Distributors, a Pontiac, Mich., beer distributorship. In the 1980s, she became the first woman to head the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association. She contributed to Michigan Republican party committees.
- 57. Edward Levy – $115,000
Levy is president of the Detroit, Mich.-based Edw. C. Levy Co., which processes slag from molten metal into materials used by the construction industry. It also has asphalt paving and production and ready-mix concrete businesses, and it operates sand, gravel, granite, and limestone quarries in Arizona and Colorado. He contributed to Michigan Republican party committees.
- 58. Alida R. Messinger## – $115,000
Messinger is the philanthropist daughter of John D. & Blanchette F. Rockefeller. She is a trustee of the Rockefeller Family Fund, which gives grants to various conservation and environmentalist groups. The Alida R. Messinger Charitable Trust funds the same type of groups. She contributed to Minnesota Democratic party committees.
- 59. Robert and Lorena Jaeb – $114,210
The Jaebs are noted philanthropists and contributors to conservative political causes. Money donated by the Mango, Fla., couple helped establish performing arts centers in the Tampa area. They gave their state-party contributions to the Republican Party of Florida.
- 60. Leon Ashford – $113,460
Ashford is a lawyer at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton in Birmingham, Ala. He served as an assistant attorney general in Alabama in 1973. His practice areas include medical malpractice, construction/industrial accidents, auto accidents and negligence/fraud. He serves as a disciplinary hearing officer for the Alabama Bar Association. He received his law degree from the University of Alabama. He contributed to the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee.
- 61. John Haley – $113,460
Haley is a member of Hare, Wynn, Newell and Newton, LLP in Birmingham, Alabama. Haley specializes in products liability law, personal injury law, and commercial litigation among others. He is a member of the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association. He contributed to the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee.
- 62. Alex Newton – $113,460
Newton is a lawyer at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton in Birmingham, Ala. He is a member of the University of Alabama Law School Foundation Board of Trustees, and the executive committee of the Birmingham Bar Association. Previously, he served in executive positions for the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association, the International Society of Barristers and the Birmingham Racing Commission. He contributed to the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee.
- 63. Scott Powell – $113,460
Powell is a lawyer at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton in Birmingham, Ala. He works on cases involving the False Claims Act, whistleblower litigation, complex commercial litigation and personal injury. He was the co-lead counsel in U.S. Ex-rel Johnson v. Shell Oil Company, which returned $437 million to the U.S. Treasury. He is a member of the International Society of Barristers’ Board of Governors. He contributed to the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee.
- 64. Jim Thompson – $113,460
Thompson is a trial lawyer with the Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton in Birmingham, Ala.. Partners in Wynn Newell are prodigious donors to Alabama Democrats. Thompson specializes in aviation, personal injury, wrongful death, product liability, and nursing home neglect and abuse cases. He contributed to the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee.
- 65. Robert J. Eichenberg – $110,000
Eichenberg is the retired owner of Ellison Educational Equipment, based in Orange County California. Eichenberg and his wife, LaDorna Ellison-Eichenberg, founded the company in 1977 after inventing the Ellison LetterMachine, the first hand-operated die-cutting machine. His step-daughter, Lisa Corcoran, now runs the company. He contributed to the California Republican Party.
- 66. Vinod Gupta – $110,000
Gupta is chairman and CEO of infoUSA, based in Omaha, Neb. He owns 38 percent of the company. With more than $300 million in annual revenue, infoUSA collects and sells business and demographic information. He contributed to the Nebraska Democratic Party.
- 67. John McGovern – $110,000
McGovern, a retired physician in Houston, Texas, has become renowned for his philanthropic endeavors as well as his medical accomplishments. He started the John P. McGovern Charitable Foundation, with assets of $181 million, and the McGovern Fund. He donated to Texas Republican party committees.
- 68. A. Jerry Perenchio – $110,000
Perenchio is chairman and CEO of Univision, the Los Angeles-based parent company of the Univision Spanish-language TV network. The company is valued at about $6.4 billion. He is credited in boxing circles for organizing the first fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1971, commonly referred to as “The Fight of the Century.” He contributed to the California Republican Party.
- 69. Bruce B. Dayton – $109,000
Dayton is a son of the founder of the former Dayton’s department store in Minneapolis. He lives in Wayzata, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb. The company has since merged with Marshall Fields and also spawned the Target retail store chain, but the family is no longer involved. Dayton served as executive vice president of Dayton’s in the mid-1950s, when the company launched Southdale Shopping Center, the first indoor mall in the United States. His son represents Minnesota in the Senate. Dayton gave the bulk of his state party contributions to the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party.
- 70. Kenneth Evenstad – $106,000
Evenstad is the chairman and CEO of Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc. Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Upsher-Smith develops, makes and sells prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Evenstad contributed to the Minnesota Republican Party.
- 71. Bruce Becker- $105,000
Becker, who lives in Rochester Hills, Mich., gave to the Michigan Republican State Committee.
- 72. Taso Kalapoutis – $105,000
An attorney, Kalapoutis served as prosecutor in Nassau County, New York. Aside from the 2000 election cycle, he was not a big donor to party politics. The Empire State resident contributed to the California Republican Party.
- 73. John Kirtley – $105,000
Kirtley is co-founder of FCP Investors, a venture capital firm based in Tampa. Kirtley has been active in Florida and other parts of the country promoting school vouchers. He spent millions of his own money on scholarships to low-income families, and on small private schools. He contributed to the Republican Party of Florida.
- 74. Laura Ross – $105,000
Laura Ross is a New York lawyer with Bill Lynch Associates, a political consulting firm. She is a democratic supporter singled out by Senator Hillary Clinton during a 1999 speech on women and politics. She gave to Democratic party committees in nine states.
- 75. L. Andrews Hollis Jr. – $104,125
Hollis is a partner in Pittman Hooks Dutton & Hollis in Birmingham. He contributed to the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee.
- 76. Ken Hooks – $104,125
President of the Alabama trial Lawyers Association, Hooks is partner in the Birmingham firm of Pittman, Hooks, Dutton, Kirby & Hollis. He contributed to the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee.
- 77. W. Lee Pittman – $104,125
Pittman is a partner at Pittman, Hooks, Marsh, Dutton & Hollis in Birmingham, Ala., specializing in personal injury law. He contributed to the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee.
- 78. Tom Dutton – $103,250
Dutton is a principal at the Pittman Hooks Dutton & Hollis firm in Birmingham. He contributed to the Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee.
- 79. Clay L. and Mary A. Mathile – $103,000
Clay Mathile purchased the Iams Company in 1982 from animal nutritionist Paul Iams. Mathile’s wealth is derived from his sale of the Iams Company to the Proctor and Gamble Company for $2.3 billion in September 1999. The Mathiles contributed to Republican party committees in Ohio.
- 80. Alfred C. Eckert III – $101,500
A specialist in high risk/yield bonds; Eckert is chairman and CEO of Greenwich Street Capitol Partners. Before that, he was an executive at Merchant Bank. He contributed to Republican party committees in California and New Jersey.
- 81. Robert Fayfield – $101,000
Founder and CEO of Banner Engineering, Fayfields’ control panel manufacturing firm is one of the worlds largest photoelectric sensing and sensor technology companies. He contributed to Republican party committees in Minnesota.
- 82. Richard L. Sharp – $100,500
Former chairman of Circuit City and chairman of CarMax; Sharp is currently chairman of Children First America, a non-profit organization that lobbies for school vouchers for underprivileged children. He contributed to Republican party committees in Missouri and Virginia.
- 83. Steve Ballmer – $100,000
Ballmer is Microsoft Corp. CEO and a regular entry on Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 richest Americans. Ballmer divided his state party contributions between Michigan and Washington Republican committees.
- 84. Robert Barrett – $100,000
Bay Area resident who gave exclusively to California Republican Party in an October 2000 check.
- 85. Sandra Dauch – $100,000
Dauch is a homemaker and wife of Richard E Dauch. Richard Dauch is a prominent figure in the automotive industry. He co-founded American Axle and Manufacturing, one of the biggest automotive supply companies in the world. Sandra Dauch contributed to the Michigan Republican State Committee.
- 86. W.R. Davis – $100,000
A Texas millionaire and powerhouse in North Carolina politics. Davis grew up in eastern North Carolina and moved to west Texas in 1952 to start an oil-transport business. His empire eventually included an oil refinery, an oil-and-gas production company, and valuable real-estate interests. He gave to the North Carolina Democratic Executive Committee.
- 87. J. Norman Estes – $100,000
J Norman Estes is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of Northport Health Services, Inc. Founded more than 50 years ago, Northport Health Services operates 22 nursing homes in Alabama, and 15 others in Arkansas, Missouri and Florida. He contributed to the Missouri Democratic State Committee.
- 88. Terence M. Graunke – $100,000
An expert in corporate mergers and acquisitions, Graunke founded and led Eagle River Interactive’s evolution from a $10 million company 1994 to an entity worth $225 million. Graunke, an Illinois resident, contributed to Republican party committees in Minnesota and Missouri.
- 89. G. Bradford Jones- $100,000
A venture capitalist, Jones is a founding partner of Redpoint Ventures and a general partner with Brentwood Venture Capital. He contributed to the California Republican Party.
- 90. David H. Koch – $100,000
Koch is Executive Vice President of Koch Industries and Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Koch Chemical Technology Group, LLP. He is ranked number 39 on Forbes 400 richest Americans for 2002. Koch is worth and estimated $4 billion. The Kansan contributed to the New York Republican State Committee.
- 91. Chester L. Krause – $100,000
A philanthropist and avid coin collector, Krause parlayed a passion for coin collecting into Kraus Publications; the worlds largest publisher of leisure-time magazines and books. He contributed to the Republican Party of Minnesota.
- 92. Ilija Letica – $100,000
Letica fled Communism in the former Yugoslavia in 1950. In the 1960s, he transformed his engineering consulting company into Letica Corporation; a leading US manufacturer of 5-gallon buckets and other plastic industrial containers. He gave to the Michigan Republican State Committee.
- 93. William Lyon – $100,000
A retired Air Force major general, Lyon is chairman and CEO of William Lyon Homes. He also serves as the chairman, president and CEO of Corporate Enterprises, Inc. and director of Fidelity Financial Services, Inc. He contributed to the California Republican Party.
- 94. James MacDougald – $100,000
Macdougald sold ABR, the company he founded, for $750 million and then retired in 2000. In 1998 Fortune magazine had named ABR as one of 100 Fastest Growing Public Companies in America. Now he is chairman of Odyssey Marine Explorations, which specializes in shipwreck exploration and archaeology. He contributed to the Republican Party of Florida.
- 95. Martin McInerney – $100,000
McInerney is the owner of 23 auto dealerships in Illinois, Florida, Colorado, Ohio, California and Hawaii as well as in his home state, Michigan. He contributed to the Michigan Republican State Committee.
- 96. Robert McNair – $100,000
McNair was founder of Cogen Technologies, one of the world’s largest cogeneration companies supplying electricity to major cities, such as New York City. A native of Tampa Florida, McNair has lived in Houston since 1960. McNair gave to the Republican Party of Texas.
- 97. Olan Mills – $100,000
Olan and his wife, Mary, began selling photo portraits door-to-door in the 1930s. Today, the portrait photography company has more than 1000 studios and $450 million in annual sales. He contributed to the Tennessee Democratic Party.
- 98. Lewis Ranieri – $100,000
Once called the “father” of the mortgage-backed securities market, Ranieri is a former vice-chairman of Salomon Brothers and founder of Hyperion Partners LP, a leading capital management company specializing in real estate. Earlier this year, he was named an independent director of Computer Associates International Inc. following a federal investigation into allegation the company had overstated recent-year profits. He gave to the New York Republican State Committee.
- 99. Stuart Subotnick – $100,000
Subotnick was a key investor in Major League Soccer, serving as general partner of MetroMedia Inc. and, at one point, the general manager of the New Jersey MetroStars. He has controlling interests in several communications and restaurant companies. He contributed to the New York Republican State Committee.
- 100. Noah Samara – $100,000
Samara is an Ethiopian-born attorney who co-founded Worldspace, a Washington DC-based company that beams digital radio to remote regions of Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Samara contributed to the Louisiana Democratic PAC.
- 101. Michael L. Stein – $100,000
Stein is executive vice president and director of Brownson Rehmus & Foxworth, an investment and financial advisory firm that “provides financial consulting to wealthy families and select executives and professionals,” according to company information. Stein gave generously to the Republican Party in Michigan, as well as the Republican National Committee.
- 102. Robert G. Woodward – $100,000
Woodward is a major developer from Evansville, Indiana. Twenty years ago he founded Woodward Commercial Realty, specializing in commercial property sales and business brokerage. The Woodward family were supporters of Democratic candidates and the Indiana Democratic State Central Committee.
Help support this work
Public Integrity doesn’t have paywalls and doesn’t accept advertising so that our investigative reporting can have the widest possible impact on addressing inequality in the U.S. Our work is possible thanks to support from people like you.